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Five Cent Cine At Home: Sing

You gotta believe

If joyful films like “Miracle on 34th Street” make you cry, it’s a sure bet you’ll tear up — and laugh — watching “Sing.” This superb animated feature film stars a dozen perfectly sketched animals speaking the voices of Hollywood, including Tori Kelly, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, and Seth MacFarlane.

“Sing” is set in a composite present that suggests Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco, but it evokes an earlier era, when vaudeville was king and red-carpet theaters had both screens and stages. At the same time, it evokes the voice competitions — “American Idol,” “The Voice” — that are part of the current reality television scene.

At the center of the action is Buster Moon (McConaughey), a Koala bear/old school impresario who has taken on the seemingly impossible task of reviving the Moon Theatre. It’s the theater where his father, who washed cars for a living (a set-up for a hysterical car wash scene to come), took him when he was a boy.

At the center of the action is Buster Moon (McConaughey), a Koala bear/old school impresario who has taken on the seemingly impossible task of reviving the Moon Theatre.

Moon’s method — there is madness in it — is to put on a revue featuring amateur performers: a shy elephant with chops, a porcupine with song-writing potential, a tuneful gorilla teen with a Cockney accent who plays piano, and an arrogant mouse who channels Paul Desmond on the sax and belts out Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

Everyone has talent. But, except for the mouse, they’ve yet to find the confidence they need to become successful.

The pig Rosita (Witherspoon), an inexhaustibly clever, inventive, and beleaguered mother, who manages to care for her 25 or so piglets without even being home, must activate her emotional and organic side. In an exhilarating and memorable scene set in an empty supermarket, she does just that. Moon is clever, too, and his earnest, comical, and mistake-prone secretary, an alligator (writer and director Garth Jennings), joins him in the project.

Just when it seems like this motley crew is going to pull off their project, a disaster occurs — on an epic scale. It seems as if the story has nowhere to go. But it does, and when it does, get that hankie out.

Date: 2016

Directors: Garth Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet

Starring: (voices of) Tori Kelly, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane; John C. Reill, Taron Egerton, Jennifer Hudson, Leslie Jones, Wes Anderson; Peter Serafinocicz.

Runtime: 108 minutes

Sing ★★★1/2 (out of four stars)

Click here to find out where to watch Sing

With movie theaters closed, Five Cent Cine is shifting gears. “2 film critics” will continue our usual reviewing schedule of about 3 movies per month, now labeled Five Cent Cine At Home, with all of those films available streaming or for rent or purchase. Each review will list (at the top) the source(s) for you to access the film in your own living room or bedroom.

In addition, we’ll be posting a “Streamer of the Week,” a review from our catalogue (more than 110 reviews dating to mid-2016) of a film available for streaming—a way to revisit a film you’ve already seen or to decide you would enjoy.

Also see reviews on…

Two Popes

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

The Lighthouse

Eighth Grade

The Traitor (Il Traditore)

Free Solo

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Sorry to Bother You


Hidden Figures

Ford v Ferrari

Captain Fantastic

First Cow


Ordinary Love

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Uncut Gems

Les Misérables

The Last Black Man in San Francisco



Little Women

Marriage Story

Queen & Slim

The Irishman


Cold Brook

Jojo Rabbit

Pain & Glory ( Dolor y Gloria)



Downton Abbey

Ad Astra

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

The Goldfinch

Good Boys

Written by 2 Film Critics

2 Film Critics

William Graebner is Emeritus Professor of History, State University of New York, Fredonia, where he taught courses on film and American culture. He is the author or co-author of 11 books and more than 50 scholarly articles, including essays on “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” and zombie films as they relate to the Holocaust. Dianne Bennett, the first woman to head a large U.S. law firm, is a retired U.S. tax lawyer.

Dianne and Bill were early and passionate attendees at the Toronto Film Festival, and today enjoy the film scenes of Los Angeles, Rome, London, and Buffalo, New York. They began reviewing films for the Rome-based website “TheAmerican/inItalia” in 2016, have maintained a blog on Rome for a decade, and published two alternative guidebooks to the Eternal City. They still can’t resist going to the movies, not to mention the ensuing discussions, sometimes heated, over a bottle of Arneis at the nearest wine bar.

​And that's just the beginning of our reviewing process. For one or two hours we discuss the film, as one of us takes notes. The notetaker transcribes the notes and prints two copies. Dianne or Bill (usually depending on who had the most compelling understanding of the film, or who was most taken with it) writes the first draft of the review--supposedly taking into account the views of the other--which is followed by 3, 4, or even 7 more drafts. At some point, sometimes days later, when we're both comfortable with the result (or accepting of it, anyway), it's done.

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